I would consider myself an autumn girl. Summer not so much, but after a long winter we would all like to be summer girls. I was preparing mentally for the outing. Tonight was the night I would sit in my lawn chair and see both Gran~dorables 8 & 5, field the ball, hit the ball and run the bases. The sun would be lowering in the horizon, and the mild summer air would blow through my hair. With my sunglasses and my iced tea I would soak up eternal summer like I did for all of those weekends at the softball and baseball diamonds with our own three kids, now grown. Kansas City summers can be brutal, but the summer had been unusually kind, until today. A heat advisory had been posted for the afternoon, but what are you going to do? Like all mothers and grandmothers, once you commit to attend, it would take an act of God to keep you from it.
I have noticed I don’t do so well in the heat lately. When did this happen? I was the mom with the cooler and the Gatorade who was present for the opening 8am game of a two day softball/baseball tournament, who made it to Sunday night, who wiped the dust from her body with a canister of wet- naps and applied lip gloss to watch the championship game.
I am a fan of my kids and grands, that spirit still ruled my day as I prepared for the evening. My wisdom reminded me that I am not “conditioned” to this kind of outing, as our lives are no longer spent at the ballpark. With this in mind, I prepared like a seasoned veteran. I would naturally wear shorts rolled above the knee, and a light weight white peasant top with embroidery, sandals and a touch of shimmer (my summer acrylic rings with rhinestones . . . light fragrance and complexion correction with sunscreen and a soft melon gloss for my lips) My motto always has been “the ballfield can use a bit of elegance, ball diamond=diamonds!” Duh!
I pack my lawn chair and opt for a super-sized umbrella, to shelter not only myself, but any of the three Gran~dorables who hopefully will sit by Nana. It’s a little bigger to carry, but in the end I will be one cool cucumber. When the weather called for it, I would fill my mister fan with cool water and stay comfortable. But the Grandorables love the contraption, and I was in need of a new one. Walgreens didn’t have the same one, but they had a mister about the size of an eyeglass case. This mister had no batteries but a nifty pump at the bottom that you pumped four times that provided about six sprays of cooling MIST! That was a smart purchase. The next purchase was not so well thought-out. When I stopped at Q-Trip for my extra-large iced tea, in a foam cup, I decided I needed a whole liter of water to refill the mister.
I have learned to arrive just a bit earlier than the team and parents, to find a parking spot that is in the same county. My plan was working beautifully, I parked right in front of the entrance. The interior of my car was cool and the sun was beaming, the grass was green and the clouds were white and fluffy….a perfect evening to watch my two little girls show off their skills. When I turned off the car and lifted the hatchback to get out my gear, the heat of hades hit me. My first inkling that things might become difficult is when I saw how far the actual fields were from the entrance. Usually my husband would be with me to carry the load, but he was not able to go with me this night. I put the bag containing my lawn chair over my shoulder, wondering why it felt so heavy. I put the super-sized umbrella under my arm, my purse over my other shoulder, I hugged the liter of water (water is heavy!) to my chest with one arm and with my free hand I held the mega icy Styrofoam drink. I closed the hatchback and turned to get sight of the correct field, there would be no room for error. My daughter told me the first game would be way to the back off to the left. When I scanned the sidewalk that stretched to the great beyond, I could see the heat rising from the cement. Well, the flip flops might be cool, but they are not the best walking shoes. I set out with a smile of anticipation knowing I just had to make it to the ball field. I would keep my head down and go due south. I knew if I made it to the concession stand, the hub between all the fields, I was almost there. In the back of my mind I also figured there might be some kind of first aid if things went south. My initial enthusiasm quickly was curbed as a few families passed me and when I looked up I was only half of the way to the concession stand. Is there a record for how fast you can become completely saturated in sweat? I adjusted my load and used the mister, (MIST!) when the hot wind hit me. Only a little further before I would be at the concession stand, (MIST, MIST!) and then turn to the east and claim my spot at the diamond.
When I arrived I didn’t see any jerseys with the color I was looking for. (MIST!) Sadly I took two additional laps around the concession stand, scanning the four fields. (MIST!) I dropped my load and called daughter for direction.
“Mom, you are at the wrong field! Look to the right, at the end of the parking lot, it’s the back field you see in the east. Don’t walk all the way. Get in your car and drive, it’s too hot!”
“Ok, honey. See you soon.” (MIST! MIST! MIST!)
New plan. If I walk back to the car, it’s just as far in the opposite direction of the destination. I load back up and head on foot to the field. I put my head down and went at it again. (MIST!) My footwear was not boding well, and one of the flips actually flopped under my step rolling the rubber under my fresh pedicure, and skinning my toe. I couldn’t really see the damage, because my complexion correcting cream with sunscreen was beginning to run from my forehead into my eyes, and the stinging was real. My eyes were watering and without a free hand to help dab I just walked with my eyes closed, praying I would stay on the sidewalk. Tears ran all the way down my cheeks and I was fairly certain my eye makeup would be on my jawline by now. (By the way you can still MIST! With your eyes closed.) But I made it to the ball field! The game was an hour, and I was proud as a peacock to see the blonde braided girl confidently playing ball. Not a sliver of shade to be had, and my large umbrella did the trick. I wasn’t sure if all the eyes that watched me were envious of my shade, or waiting for me to take flight as I struggled with the umbrella to stay grounded.
I refilled the mister twice before game was over, and spilled my drink, but was able to recover most of it. Daughter announces the next game is on the other field, the one I was at originally. Well at least I know the way.
With as much enthusiasm as I could muster, I made my way to the next game, with one of the Gran~dorables carrying my chair. (MIST!) I saw a square of shade near the field! Another nana was fast approaching, her sights set on it too. With the agility of a ninja I picked up my pace, I had to claim that spot. It was survival as the heat index was 100 degrees. I made it, but when I found out the game didn’t start for another hour, there was no amount of shade that would sustain life in this heat. I was going to have to go for the a/c in the car. Once the decision was made, the promise of the cool car caused me to nearly leap with new found energy on my way to the parking lot. There I stayed for 45 delicious cool minutes, and felt like a new woman….until I made the trek back to the ballfield. (MIST!) My jean shorts started out as one size but after sweating and drying out, wrestling with the umbrella, they felt like they were now two sizes too big, and I prayed they wouldn’t drop, as I had no free hand to catch them.
I enjoyed the second game more, the sun began to set, and the oppressive heat lifted a bit. After a bee when down my back and my son in law rescued me from that, I was ready to assess the damage. I took my little mirror from my purse, sure enough the eye makeup was no longer on the eyes, and the streams of tears made streaks down my cheeks. But I happily misted my face, and replaced my sunglasses. As long as I didn’t pass out, and I was cooler, I only wanted to focus on the real reason for the night, my Gran~dorables. Sitting on the sidelines is a privilege, and I would do it all again. Good thing, because the heat index for tomorrow night is 100, and yup, we have a game.